Keeping your body healthy is an expression of gratitude.

What’s in Your Basket?

Posted March 30th, 2012 by Salina with No Comments

My son was 6 months old on his first Easter. When I expressed my desire to create a basket for him that was not filled with sugar and chocolate many people thought I was crazy. I heard comments like: “It’s Easter, you have to put candy in his basket!” The boy was 6 months old, he did not need a basket full of candy; he couldn’t even eat candy (I found myself saying the same thing on his first few Halloweens)!

Everyone has their own traditions and boy, do they like to share their opinions if your ideas vary greatly from theirs (much like me in this post)! When I was growing up my mom did not like us to have a lot of sugar. She was not a health nut by any means, but she was afraid that my sisters and I would become diabetics if we had too much sugar. She would fill our baskets with fruit, snack-sized bags of chips, peanut butter-filled crackers, little coloring books, etc. We would also have jelly beans in the bottom of the basket and a family member would bring us each a chocolate bunny.

I loved Easter and have fond memories of the smells of fresh fruit mingling with the scent of Easter grass and jelly beans. The smell of oranges and bananas can still spark a memory of Easter morning. However, fresh fruit is not a novelty to my son like is was to four daughters of a single mom (fresh fruit can be expensive in mass quantities). So, I needed ideas that were different from my memories. I also have issues with buying little useless toys that are cheap but more of a choking hazard (and a break your ankle on it hazard) then entertainment for anyone. So, at 6 months old, the little guy’s first Easter basket was not a basket at all but a big stuffed bunny holding a book (or 2) and a DVD. The following year was probably something similar, I can’t really remember.

Last year was exciting, because he was 2 and a half and he could understand more what was happening. We dyed eggs for the first time, went on many egg hunts with friends, and his basket was over-flowing with coolness! Every year he gets a stuffed animal of some kind and a movie, last year he also got gardening tools, seeds, plant kits, a game, and some bubbles. The movie that he got was one that we had borrowed from the library several times, but is was all scratched up so we were never able to see the whole thing. His face lit up at the sight of it! I love that he can get so excited without having to be loaded-up with sugar and me being loaded with guilt for supplying it! That’s not to say he doesn’t have candy and other treats – he does. I just like to limit him from ingesting mass quantities all at once. I did give him a few jelly beans last year (not in his basket, just one day) and he was insane, almost literally bouncing off the walls! So we will still be avoiding the jelly beans. This year the bunny will be bringing craft supplies!

So, I am curious, what are your Easter traditions? What do you put in your child’s or your own basket that says “Easter” to you? Do you do candy or toys or something else all together?

Broccoli and Chickpea Pasta Salad

Posted March 21st, 2012 by Linda with No Comments

Need a quick meatless meal? With just a few ingredients you can make this tasty, healthy pasta salad!

12 oz. of pasta – penne, ditalini, rotini, bowtie, etc.
Broccoli, fresh or frozen, cut into florets
15 oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
4 tbls. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of two lemons, about 1/4 cup
20 baby tomatoes, sliced into halves
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper (optional)
Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Boil a large pot of salted water to a boil. If using fresh broccoli, add it to the water first. Cook for 3-4 minutes. Remove from the pot with a spoon and place into a separate bowl. Add the pasta into the pot and cook according to package directions.
2. In a large skillet, heat oil. Add in garlic and crushed red pepper, if desired. Saute for 1-2 minutes. If you are using frozen broccoli, follow package directions, making sure not to over cook. Add broccoli and chickpeas, salt to taste. Cook for 3-4 minutes.
3. Drain pasta and return it to the pot. Add in the chickpea and broccoli mixture, tomatoes, and lemon juice and combine.
4. Spoon the pasta salad into bowls and top with shredded Parmesan cheese, if desired.

This pasta salad is light and fresh, thanks to minimal ingredients and the tart flavor of the lemon juice. Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. This is a tasty meal served warm or cold – warm it up for a quick lunch or serve it cold on a hot summer night!

Tilapia Corn Chowder

Posted February 24th, 2012 by Linda with No Comments

Here’s a healthy, delicious fish chowder for those observing Lent or just for those of you who enjoy tasty soups!

1 teaspoon canola oil
2 stalk celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1/4 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
½ yellow onion, finely chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
2 tbls. fresh parsley, minced or 1 tbls. dried parsley
2 large Yukon Gold potatoes, diced into half-inch pieces
2 cups fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into bite-size pieces
1 cup half-and-half
2 teaspoons lemon juice
4 cups of chicken broth, 2 cans
Parmesan cheese (optional)

1. Add oil to your stock pot and heat to medium-high. Add celery, carrots, pepper, onion, salt and black pepper and cook until the vegetables just begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Add in the garlic and cook another 3 minutes.
2. Add broth, potatoes, and corn. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cook until the potatoes are just tender and the corn is cooked through, about 15-20 minutes.
3. Stir in tilapia and parsley; return to a gentle simmer. Cook until the tilapia is cooked through, about 4-6 minutes more. Remove from the heat.
4. Stir in half-and-half and lemon juice. Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese.

Tip:For more flavor try adding cooked, chopped turkey bacon or using herb-infused broths.

Warm Up This Winter with a Healthy Soup

Posted January 24th, 2012 by Linda with No Comments

January is National Soup month – a perfect meal for the colder winter months! Try this yummy recipe:

Chickpea and Cauliflower Soup

1 tbsp. olive oil
3-6 cloves garlic; chopped
1 small head or ½ large head cauliflower; chopped
3-4 cans garbanzo beans (chickpeas); drained (and rinsed if desired)
4 cups vegetable broth
Herbamare to taste (if you can’t find Herbamare, use a mix of Sea Salt, onion, chive, parsley, garlic, basil, marjoram, rosemary, and thyme)

In a large pot, warm olive oil over medium heat and add chopped garlic. Sauté garlic until it just starts to brown. Do NOT burn.

Add beans, cauliflower and some Herbamare to pot, stir.

Add vegetable broth. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.

Reduce heat to medium/low. Cover and simmer 30 minutes or until cauliflower is tender.

Remove soup from heat. Puree with hand blender until smooth.

Serve hot.


~ If you do not have a hand blender soup can be pureed with a regular blender. Carefully add the soup to a blender a little bit at a time. Puree.

~ Try adding sautéed squash or vegetables to the soup just before serving.

Healthy After-Party Breakfast

Posted January 1st, 2012 by Salina with No Comments

If you didn’t see our suggestion on Facebook for a “Mocktail” or chose to party it up anyway you might be ringing in the New Year With a hangover. So if your head is pounding and your stomach feels less then settled fight the urge to skip breakfast and try this recipe from Whole Living Magazine (Dec. 2010) that might just help you feel like yourself again.

Oatmeal with Blueberries, Walnuts, and Bananas

Serves 1
Per Serving: 544 Calories; 2g saturated fat; 12g unsaturated fat; 0mg cholesterol; 91g carb; 87mg sodium; 14g protein

1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup rolled oats
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch kosher salt
1/4 cup frozen blueberries
1/2 banana, sliced
2 tablespoons toasted walnuts, chopped
1 tablespoon maple syrup, or to taste

Bring water to a boil in a small saucepan.
Add oats, cinnamon, and salt.
Reduce to a steady simmer and cook,
stirring occasionally, until oats are
tender, about 5 to 7 minutes. Stir in
frozen blueberries. Top with banana,
walnuts, maple syrup, and skim milk,
if desired.

According to the article the omega-3 fatty acids in walnuts will help reduce inflammation and the blueberries are packed with vitamin C and antioxidants. Potassium rich bananas can help balance electrolytes that are lost from dehydration.

Cinnamon also has anti-inflammatory properties and, according to, adding it to high carb foods may reduce the impact the carbs have on your blood sugar levels. Adding maple syrup rather than refined table sugar will also help keep your blood sugar in check.

Make sure that throughout the day you drink plenty of water. Staying active can also help shake the horrible hangover feeling, so get out of bed and do something.